Ron Padgett's poems stand in for the poems written by a bus driver in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Some of those poems appear in this collection, first published in 2013. Padgett knew from an early age that he was a poet -- he wrote his first poem at age 14. He was inspired by Ginsberg's Howl and Walt Whitman's Song of Myself. He admired their clear, direct, conversational language. He was also influenced by poet William Carlos Williams, who lived in Paterson, New Jersey, the locale of the Jarmusch movie. Like Williams, Padgett often begins a poem with a small, specific object -– for example, the match in Love Poem, used in the movie and among the poems read here. Padgett experiences writing poetry as a natural activity, rather like brushing his teeth.
Read an excerpt from Collected Poems.
Ron Padgett, poet, essayist, fiction writer and translator